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Understanding the effects of violent video games on violent crime

  • Cunningham, A. Scott
  • Engelstätter, Benjamin
  • Ward, Michael R.

Psychological studies invariably find a positive relationship between violent video game play and aggression. However, these studies cannot account for either aggressive effects of alternative activities video game playing substitutes for or the possible selection of relatively violent people into playing violent video games. That is, they lack external validity. We investigate the relationship between the prevalence of violent video games and violent crimes. Our results are consistent with two opposing effects. First, they support the behavioral effects as in the psychological studies. Second, they suggest a larger voluntary incapacitation effect in which playing either violent or non-violent games decrease crimes. Overall, violent video games lead to decreases in violent crime.

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File URL: http://econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/48154/1/663765870.pdf
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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 11-042.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:11042
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  1. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2008. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," NBER Working Papers 13718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Brian Jacob & Lars Lefgren & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Dynamics of Criminal Behavior: Evidence from Weather Shocks," NBER Working Papers 10739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Hilger, James & Rafert, Greg & Villas-Boas, Sofia B, 2009. "Expert Opinion and the Demand for Experience Goods : an experimental approach in the retail wine market," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1049, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
  9. Eric D. Gould & Bruce A. Weinberg & David B. Mustard, 2002. "Crime Rates And Local Labor Market Opportunities In The United States: 1979-1997," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-61, February.
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  11. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Instruments, Randomization, and Learning about Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 424-55, June.
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  15. David A. Reinstein & Christopher M. Snyder, 2005. "THE INFLUENCE OF EXPERT REVIEWS ON CONSUMER DEMAND FOR EXPERIENCE GOODS: A CASE STUDY OF MOVIE CRITICS -super-* ," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 27-51, 03.
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